Genetics and Diabetes

Genes provide the instructions for making proteins within the cell. If a gene has a mutation, the protein may not function properly. Genetic mutations that cause diabetes affect proteins that play a role in the ability of the body to produce insulin or in the ability of insulin to lower blood glucose. People have two copies of most genes; one gene is inherited from each parent.

Source: NIDDK (NIH)1

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In most cases of monogenic diabetes, the gene mutation is inherited; in the remaining cases the gene mutation develops spontaneously. Most mutations in monogenic diabetes reduce the body's ability to produce insulin, a protein produced in the pancreas that helps the body use glucose for energy.

Source: NIDDK (NIH)2

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While both type 2 diabetes and MODY can run in families, people with MODY typically have a family history of diabetes in multiple successive generations, meaning that MODY is present in a grandparent, a parent, and a child.

Source: NIDDK (NIH)3

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Monogenic diabetes is caused by mutations, or changes, in a single gene. These changes are usually passed through families, but sometimes the gene mutation happens on its own. Most of these gene mutations cause diabetes by making the pancreas less able to make insulin.

The most common types of monogenic diabetes are neonatal diabetes and maturity-onset diabetes of the young (MODY). Neonatal diabetes occurs in the first 6 months of life. Doctors usually diagnose MODY during adolescence or early adulthood, but sometimes the disease is not diagnosed until later in life.

Source: NIDDK (NIH)4

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Family Health History Family health history is an important risk factor for developing a number of serious diseases, including type 2 diabetes. In fact, most people with type 2 diabetes have a family memberósuch as a mother, father, brother, or sisterówith the disease.

Source: MedLinePlus Magazine (NIH)5

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References

  1. Source: NIDDK (NIH): niddk.nih.gov/ health-information/ diabetes/ overview/ what-is-diabetes/ monogenic-neonatal-mellitus-mody
  2. ibid.
  3. ibid.
  4. Source: NIDDK (NIH): niddk.nih.gov/ health-information/ diabetes/ overview/ symptoms-causes
  5. Source: MedLinePlus Magazine (NIH): medlineplus.gov/ magazine/ issues/ fall14/ articles/ fall14pg12-13.html

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Note: This site is for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. See your doctor or other qualified medical professional for all your medical needs.